Wheaton College Alumnus to Lead School

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 21, 2010 | Go to article overview

Wheaton College Alumnus to Lead School


Byline: Bob Smith and Justin Kmitch rsmith@dailyherald.com jkmitch@dailyherald.com

Wheaton College has appointed Philip Ryken, senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, as its eighth president.

He will begin work July 1.

It will be something of a homecoming for Ryken, who grew up in Wheaton, graduated from the college and frequently wondered if he would return, according to one member of the college's board of trustees.

The trustees voted Friday night to hire Ryken. The college's staff and faculty were informed at a private meeting Saturday morning, about the same time Ryken was

telling his church elders of his decision to accept the position.

Ryken graduated from Wheaton College in 1988, joined Tenth Presbyterian as a pastor in 1995 and became senior pastor in 2000.

He also is a member of the college's board of trustees.

His father, Leland Ryken, is an English professor at the school.

"My simple hope is to fulfill my calling as a wise and visionary leader for Wheaton's faculty, staff and students," Ryken said in a written statement. "I pray that during my tenure Wheaton will grow in academic excellence and spiritual vitality so that our graduates are equipped to go out into the world and make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom."

The Rev. D. Marion Clark, Ryken's colleague of 10 years at Tenth Presbyterian, said Ryken told the church's elders he had been approached by the college and decided to take the Wheaton job.

"We were all certainly caught off guard and very much surprised, but I understand that," Clark said. "But we each stood and gave him our blessing and understanding. We recognize he is doing what he believes is God's will."

The 1,500-member congregation will be told of Ryken's announcement after today's services.

Clark said the entire congregation will sorely miss Ryken, who he believes is a great choice for Wheaton College.

"I, reluctantly, can tell you that Dr. Ryken would be a great fit anywhere he went but especially at Wheaton College," Clark said. "Not only is he a great leader, but he is a great listener, a dedicated and hard worker, a consensus builder and a man who takes challenges head on. …

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